January 23, 2020

Logan Darnell is On Professional Baseball’s Winding Path

December 21, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

For players, professional baseball is a journey that takes many twists and turns. Neither the path nor the destination can ever be foretold. Someone who can attest to that is pitcher Logan Darnell, who has just completed the 10th year of a career filled with changes and achievements.

The left-handed Darnell was a sixth-round draft choice of the Minnesota Twins out of the University of Kentucky in 2010. A starter, he progressed steadily through their minor league system, winning 31 games between 2011-2013. His development paid off by getting called up to the Twins for a brief time in 2014, spanning several call-ups. Appearing in seven games (four starts), he was 0-2 with a 7.13 ERA.

His debut was impressive, as he threw three perfect innings in relief against the Cleveland Indians in a 4-2 loss on May 6th. This included his first big-league strikeout, punching out Michael Brantley swinging in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Since his time in Minnesota, the lefty has not returned to the majors. He remained with the Twins’ system through 2016 and has since pitched in the minors for the Tampa Bays Ray and Washington Nationals. He has also played abroad and in the independent leagues. In 2019, he has pitched in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and for the Somerset Patriots as the independent Atlantic League.

Just 30 years of age. he is still pitching and looking to get back to the majors. In 10 years, across all levels, he is a combined 89-77 with a 3.96 ERA. He is a talented pitcher and given him being left-handed—which gives him even more added value, there’s no reason why this can’t be accomplished.

In the meantime, he recently answered some questions about his career.

Who was your favorite player when you were growing up, and why?: I would say Ken Griffey Jr. or Tom Glavine. Being a lefty and a Braves fan, it was a no-brainer with Glavine.

Can you please describe what your draft experience was like, being taken in the 6th round by the Twins in 2010?: Draft day was pretty cool. Me and all my friends were riding 4-wheelers on the farm I grew up on. I didn’t want to make it a big deal. I wasn’t in much control of it, so I let it happen and got the call while I was heading back from that.

What is the “unspoken” competition like in the minor leagues where players are each working so hard to make it to the big leagues?: I truly believe if you don’t pull for your teammates and help each other grow as a player you’re missing out on some of the best parts of playing. Negative thoughts or hoping others do bad usually means you’re doing bad anyway. The key is  help others and get better, and if either one of you make it to the bigs it’s a success.

What do you remember most about your major league debut (against the Cleveland Indians)?: I remember shaking in the bullpen, trying to breathe calmly. Once I got out there, instinct took over. It happened really fast, but other than that my brother and a family friend came up and we all slept in same hotel room that night and talked about it all night.

Who is a player you played with or against you are still surprised didn’t get a shot in the majors?: I’d say Nick Struck has some electric stuff out of the bullpen. He prolly should have gotten a shot. But there are so many guys good enough, but not enough spots.

What is your favorite moment so far from your baseball career?: So many great moments; the debut was fun; playing in the playoffs in winter ball in Venezuela was a blast! Throwing a combined no hitter with Trevor May was memorable. A lot of great moments with teammates I’ll remember more than a lot of the baseball accomplishments.

What are the main differences of playing in Mexico compared to Venezuela?: This is tough question because of the social distress of the country of Venezuela. Times are tough there and it is very draining mentally and physically to play there. I hope times will get better there soon because the people there deserve better. The baseball is good in both places, though.

Do you think you received a fair chance in the majors, and how badly do you want to make it back?: I think I got a chance; that’s all anyone can ask for. Whether it was fair or not gets into the category of opinion, and blaming others for things that may or may not be true. I have always said you make your own luck, and you can’t blame anyone but you for your circumstances. Just my logic. I’d love to get back for sure though; the competition is the best and the money doesn’t hurt.

What are the major differences playing in independent ball?: Indy ball is competitive now- reminds me of Triple-A before it became cool to have a ton of younger players there. Veterans and guys looking to get back in affiliate ball. Indy ball is all on you; not as much organizational rules or standards. Just show up play and do your job.

What is something from your career that you would like to do differently if you could go back in time?: If you could go back, all the mistake pitches, hanging breaking balls, homers given up, walks.. I’d prolly go back and not do those, but you also learn from those things. I wouldn’t change much; maybe complain less and be thankful more for what I had.

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